HBinFive July 15th Bread Braid

I opted to make the Vermont Cheddar Bread from ABinFive for this assignment. I've made this bread before, quite a while ago, so it seemed like a new recipe again.

I used some local, sharp cheddar. I really tasted the cheese in the crust. Mmmmn hmmn.

I do have a couple of other bread-related items that I have been wanting to tell you about.

The first is an awesome discovery we made one morning when we were in Cape May. We were driving to Sunset Beach, also known as Point Beach, where dogs are allowed. We wanted Harry to have at least one beach experience.

Along Sunset Boulevard, a woman was selling fresh baked bread, as well as flowers and herbs. I had Husband stop and turn around, of course!

This woman bakes clay oven bread. She had been up at 5am baking. Judging by the number of loaves and varieties she had, I would have thought she would have been up all night.

We bought 3 loaves--French boule, wheat, and rosemary thyme. They were amazing. I don't think I have ever had clay oven baked bread before. The crust was firm but not thick, like the artisan loaves we are baking. The bottoms were toasty, and the interiors were dry with a fine crumb. When I say dry, I mean not chewy like I feel my breads lean towards.

She said she had someone build her oven, but yes you can build your own.

I went online to check this all out. I think, though, you need space for a clay oven because it needs to be a certain distance from your house or any structure. I don't know how much distance, but I'm pretty sure we don't have it, unless we wanted to put it smack in the middle of our back yard! This woman has a farm, so space is probably not an issue.

Interestingly, you can fire up, bake bread at high temperatures, then let the oven cool down a little and slip in some cakes or other lower-temperature types of baking. Efficient is you ask me.

My other topic to share is that I am getting ready to start baking from a book Husband gave me for my birthday, or was it Mother's Day, or our anniversary? They are all in May, so the appreciated gifts all blur together.

I am curious, and a little nervous. In this book, Peter Reinhart offers his methods for cold fermentation. There appears to be more handling of the dough than we are doing, and more rising.

I'll report back soon.